Over the past few years, blogging has taken off and has become its own industry. I know so many women who are now the bread winners in their homes because they’re doing what they love. Whether it be fashion, food, beauty, travel, lifestyle, women AND men are able to inspire others while working with different companies and products to earn a living. When I started out in the TV industry I used to look up to bloggers like Monika Hibbs, Gal Meets Glam, Sincerely Jules, and I would say to myself “if only I could just be a blogger one day.” I love the process, styling photo shoots, capturing moments in travel, and inspiring my followers. So, slowly and naturally, my blog and my life as a blogger became a reality. I still struggle with juggling between being a TV host, a blogger, and a public personality with my personal life. BUT, blogging truly is my favorite creative outlet because it doesn’t limit me to just interior design. I can share everything that I’m passionate about.
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten tons of inquiries about how I do it and if I have any tips to share. I’d like to start off by comparing blogging to any job. If you love it and love what you do you can be successful at it. But, like any career, it’s not easy. As much as critics out there say “all we do is dress up in pretty outfits and take pictures,” it’s much more than that. Like any business, it’s a challenge to run. There’s financials, deadlines, quality control, good months, bad months, overhead, and it’s TIME-CONSUMING!!! The one thing about blogging that everyone seems to have an issue with is how frivolous it is. Everything aside, if it is what you are passionate about it is FUN. Without further ado, if I had to share my top 10 steps to becoming a blogger and launching your brand … this is where I would start ….
1. Photography | You need at least 30 FANTASTIC, edited, ready to go photos that will get you going. Register in some photography courses or read great blogs about capturing great photography. My blog and Monika Hibbs has some great tips. If you are lacking your own original photography, it’s totally ok to borrow, as long as you always link back to the original source and give them credit
2. Social Media | Clean up your social media … ALL of it … Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat … whatever social channels you will be using make sure it all reflects ‘your brand.’ Make sure snaps of doing tequila shots and pictures of you partying are kept to a minimum, unless that is your brand!!!
3. Branding | Start by determining your brand. Are you fashion focused? Beauty? Food? Travel? Family? Interior design? Or like me… all of it, Lifestyle!!! Keep it consistent. Think about whether your brand is light and airy, dark and stormy, bright and colourful …. and ensure all content and photography is consistent within that. People should be able to identify you through an image (like a picture of your shoes).
4. Content | Start by establishing and creating content … and lots of it!!! Start stock piling blogs and writing down ideas for blogs. Don’t launch your site with less than 5 blogs already ready to go!!! You want readers to come back to your site consistently. I will go into posting and consistency next, they all go hand in hand.
5. Posting | Try to post at least one blog a week to keep your readers interested … start a content calendar and plan ahead! Will you have specific blogs on specific days? For example: Makeup Monday, Food Friday, What I’m Loving Wednesday, Tuesday Ten. Think of holidays and travel, and special moments you want to capture and try to plan that content and photography ahead of time! I shoot Christmas in October and Valentines day in January! PLAN PLAN PLAN!!!!
6. Consistency | Stay consistent with everything that you do. If you post 1 Instagram a day or 1 outfit a day stick with that. If you are a fashion blogger it is OK to venture into food or design but make sure you have your solid following first before venturing into something else. When posting your blogs, if you post 3 times a week, make sure you post at the same time every day. Your following and viewers come to your site knowing that there will be new and fresh content. STAY consistent with your content, timing, posting, social media, make it EASY for your following to come back to you and to follow you!!!
7. Linking | Try to link to brands and influencers as much as possible. Although you want to be authentic, I’m going to assume you eventually want to make a career out of this. If you are blogging about brands, hotels, influencers, companies, products you love… link to them, then tweet your blog at them and mention them in all social media links … hopefully, this will start to raise awareness in your blog and the day you get retweeted, regrammed or your links shared you will scream and jump around like a little girl!!! Keep it up!!! If you want to be featured on specific blogs, sites, publications, reach out and send them some of your blogs!!! This is a great way to get your name and blog out there and you will definitely gain new followers.
8. Media Kit | Create a Media Kit or and Electronic Press Kit. By now you are getting calls from PR companies and brands wanting to know more about your blog and how they can be featured. An Electronic Press Kit (EPK) is a document (PDF) that you can send people to learn more about your blog and brand. It should include: your bio, social media following on all channels, previous partnerships, site statistics, and all the different ways a company can partner with you. It is also good for sending to potential collaborators, content creators or brands that YOU want to partner with. It is a quick, easy, pretty and eye catching package that gives them all the stats they need to partner with you! Make sure to update it monthly or bi-monthly or as the stats and following change.
9. Money | ONE of the reasons people get into blogging is to … make money. For JH.com there have been 3 ways to generate revenue, over the years. I haven’t always made money, in fact, I started my blog just for fun.
1. Sponsored Blog Posts: Partner with brands that you would already wear or use their products. You want to be promoting brands that you believe in so that you are genuine and real with your following. This will make the posts easier for you as it will be natural and organic making it a win-win for everyone.
2. Affiliate Links: These are trackable links that allow for you to collect revenue when an item is purchased through your link. There are many different companies and affiliate sites out there … we typically use Reward Style. But, do your research and find what works best for YOU and your following
3. Advertisements: You can sell ad space on your site in a few ways, top banner and side bar ad space is a great place to start. If you don’t have a high enough following yet to do this, I recommend using affiliate linked ads or google ads. Every time someone clicks through you will be making SOME money, not much but it’s a start!
10. Networking | When you are just starting out it is important to NETWORK …. with brands, retailers, other bloggers. Get yourself out there and get your name and blog out there!!! This will make it easier if you are wanting to “borrow” from retailers for shoots, get help from other bloggers for shoots …. AND cross promote your content with others. I know that there are so many bloggers out there that work together and take one another’s pictures… this is a great way to get the shots that you want as they are wanting the exact same ones!!!
Once you get all of that under your belt, we can start talking about your actual blog and how to make it the best that it can be!!! Until then, let me know if you have any other questions or need more advice in the comments below …
Good luck my loves and happy BLOGGING!!